A lesson from history told with complete focus on patriotism. The sole aim is to display the conviction of our freedom fighters. Even though it doesn't have any other emotional connect, it is a lesson we shouldn't miss.
Any story that tells us more about our freedom struggle inspires me. On that count, just by choosing to make a film based on an event from those times puts it in the positive column. And it's not that Chittagong doesn't add to the experience through the use of other aspects of film-making, it surely does in every field, from acting to cinematography to direction. Yet, that something more is missing as was in Khele Hum Jee Jaan Se, the connect with the individual characters.
There is so little you know about the personalities of the characters that Manoj Bajpai, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Raj Kumar Yadav. Jaideep Ahlawat, Vega Tamotia play that you can barely appreciate their performances. The only character whose life is given a little more detail is that of Subodh Roy aka Jhunku played by young Delzad Hiwale (instantly recognizable as the little brother from this Reliance ad). Jhunku is a self-doubting, torn-between-two-ideolgies lad and Delnaz plays out his confusion really well.
It is possible that there is only too little information about the characters available that can be converted to interesting filmable material. Maybe there is so much reverence for the characters that it is difficult to connect with them. They are high on a pedestal and their addiction to their own conviction is so beyond our understanding that any attempt to identify with them just feels inappropriate. And of course, the story is about them collectively, and not about the individuals and their dynamics.
Be that as it may, it is a story that we need to know. Be it Chittagong or Khele Hum Jee Jaan Se this is one chapter from our history that we ought to be aware of. Chittagong is crisper because it is shorter by over half an hour, doesn't delve much into Surya Sen's private life and neither does it have a 'top' actress to sing songs to us. On the other hand, it doesn't have the 'star' power in the traditional sense of the word, though each member of Chittagong's cast is a star in his own right.
Yet, they both narrate the story almost similarly. Take your pick, but pick you must.
- meetu, a part of the audience
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